Thursday, June 15, 2017

FOUR

Highlights:
-Giggles: when kissed repeatedly, during raspberries, when tickled, and when cheeks are squeezed
-Ticklish: his back and cheeks/under his chin are most ticklish
-Smiles freely
-Loves mirrors
-Smiles at the picture of my mom on the wall EVERY time he sees it
-Learned how to whine-cry
-Has an active body (lots of kicking, flailing arms, looking from side to side)
-Wants to stand, always
-Improved hand coordination
- Likes to chew/suck on his hands and blankets, but doesn't really chew/suck on other toys or objects yet
-Enjoys sucking/chewing on just one or two fingers at a time
-Likes squawking, chatting and cooing
-Loves to be outside, specifically, he loves trees
-Left side dominant, for now
-Flew across the country and did great on the plane!
-Now refuses to roll over
-Loves to snuggle up with any blanket
-Holding onto a blanket will help him calm down if he is upset
-Can turn himself in circles on his back
-This isn't a highlight, but he got his first cold this month :(
-Loves to lay swaddled but right up against to you in bed, with his head nuzzled against your chest, neck or tummy.



(once he falls asleep he will turn his head up like this, but as he is falling asleep, he keeps his face turned in right against your body and you feel concerned about whether or not he can breathe)


Continues To:
-eats well, not at all demanding
-Sleeps great for the most part--12 hrs a night, eats after the first 8 hrs
-Still has his bright blue eyes!
-Is spoiled by Kyle <3
-Personality is calm, content, curious and a little shy
-A Mama's boy
-loves T.V.
-loves bath time with Dad
-loves being swaddled

Stats:
-Weight: 15 lbs
-Length: 25.5 inches
-3-6M Clothes
-Size 2 Diapers

This month Ezra has just become so much more interactive. It is so fun! He gets excited when we come in the room. He smiles the biggest grins. He squawks like a bird all day long. He kicks and marches. He likes to stand and bobble. He likes to chat with anyone who will give him the time of day. He is most interactive when he is just laid flat on his back. When he is being held or sitting propped up, he is more interested in looking around and less interested in making noise.

To our best estimation, Z battles some pretty scary nightmares every once in a while. He will punctuate a dead sleep with sudden, piercing screams. He's not awake, just screaming out of what we can only determine to be fear. The cry is so different from any other cry (pain, hunger, anger, etc.) It is so sad and scary for us (and him too, I'm sure!) The worst part is not being able to help him. We will pick him up and try to talk to him to wake him up and/or calm him down, but it is often of no use. It only happens once every few weeks. My mother instincts tell me that night terrors will be a part of our lives for many years to come.

I have to write a little blurb about Ezra's love for trees. It is such a cute personality trait right now and I don't want to forget about it! There is an aspen-like tree in our front yard. Each day I will just go out and lay him in the grass under it. He is mesmerized by the shimmering leaves. Each time a breeze he will start to kick his legs and make "OOOOOOOHHHHH WWWWAAAAAA" sounds as he watches those leaves dance. When we go for walks he will look at us, until we walk under trees, then he will just look up in the most sincere amazement and curiosity.

His hair has grown a lot more this month. He has this head of fluffy feather-like hair that stands straight up. He looks like a little bird or duck. It has been one of my favorite changes this month, I think. So cute.




Notice: feathery baby bird hair <3

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

What's In MY Bag

When I was pregnant, I can't tell you how many blog posts like this one I read in preparation for having my Ezra. So, I decided to do one of my own. Feel free to SKIP if you could care less. Hopefully it goes without saying (why do we start sentences we are about to SAY by saying "it goes without saying"?) that a diaper bag for three children, or a toddler, etc. will be different than one for just one eensy babe.


I always keep a bottle of water in one of those outside pockets and a mini bottle of Purell. Purell is a MUST. When it is on the outside like that it is so convenient to ask people to use a little bit before they hold  or touch the baby.  



Oh my organizational heart feels good looking at this picture. The Skip-Hop diaper bags come with the gray changing pad you can see in the back pocket and the two pouches (blue and chevron) you see pictured here. The chevron is insulated and is specifically to keep bottles warm or cold. 

#1: Diapers and Wipes. I have a hard plastic wipe dispenser container that I fill with new wipes once every few weeks. I always have that filled along with 3-4 diapers. 
#2: Burp cloth and/or a bib
#3: A spare bottle and emergency formula. Z is breastfed, but I keep a bottle with a pouch of formula in my diaper bag at all times, just in case. My anxiety ridden self can tell you countless scenarios I have thought of where this might be needed, but I will not worry your mind with those. I have not actually purchased any formula. This is just one of those sample packets that you get, like, a million of in the mail when you're pregnant. 


#5: Snacks. When you are nursing you gotta eat! I always keep a small stash of snacks (almonds, raisins, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.)
#6: Anti-Bacterial Wipes and Tissues. Because, life. 
#7: Nursing Pads. Because, nursing. 
#8: Extra Pacificer and a Pacifier Clip. I don't use pacifier clips at home, but it is nice to tether that pacifier to my baby's body when I am somewhere in public where I really would not like his binky to end up on the ground. 
#9: Entertainment. A bitty-babe does not really need toys, but they still appreciate variety of things to look at. I keep a Sophie the Giraffe, a rattle, and a baby ring or two.  
#10: The blue pouch you see pictured above always contains some spare clothing items in case of a blow-out or other mishap. I have a sleeper or onesie and a pair of pants. It also contains a pair of sock and a hat.

And that is it! I am a firm believer in being prepared with the things you need and might need, but not having too much. Clutter is my enemy. I hope this helps inspire ideas for some prep-crazy-pregnant first time mother like me somewhere out there in the wide webiverse. 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Month Three

Highlights:
--Mama's boy (but STARES at Kyle anytime he is in the room)
--Likes baths now
--Has learned he can kick and splash during bath time
--Can roll from tummy to back
--Very smiley
--Enjoys his play mat
--Has begun to try and reach for toys
--On the verge of full-belly giggles but not quite (little mini-giggles for now)
--Sleeping great!
--Likes sport time with Dad.....aaaaaand any other time we will let him look at the TV
--Is beginning to reach and trying to grab toys/other objects
--Snuggly little dude, likes to relax cheek to cheek
--Not a performer. Does not like doing things on cue.
--Smiles biggest at: animal noises, the word "Hi!", when other people laugh, and when mommy kisses him on the mouth!, tongue clicking sounds, rolled "r" sounds, anything noise that is loud (to a degree) and sudden




Ezra's favorite hobby is staring at the light fixture above our dining room table. We have one of those sturdy changing pads that has raised edges which I just lay on our dining room table. He will lay there, stare at the light fixture, coo *loudly*, and kick about for as long as we will let him. His affections for light fixtures are not equal. He has particular admiration for the dining room light fixture. Sometimes if he is a little fussy I will just lay him under the light. It is pretty magical. If you try to talk and play with him while he is light-watching, his little eyes will dart back and forth between the light and your face unsure which one would be better to settle on. Eventually the darting becomes so quick that you feel bad for his little eyes and concede to the light fixture just so he doesn't have to choose!

He has started sleeping "through the night." Technically, according to Dr's that is, through the night is any stretch 5-7 hours (at least that is my understanding.) He consistently gives us about 7 hour stretches. Sometimes he does 8 hour stretches, sometimes 6. And, after these long stretches he eats and goes back to sleep for another few hours (3-4). He's the BEST. In total, he sleeps about 12 hours a night, with one feeding in there.

Ezra does a great job being held by whomever. He just hangs out and lets himself be passed around, no problem--very mellow. However, if for some reason it gets to be too long of a stretch that he goes without being able to see either Kyle or I, or being able to hear one of our voices, he starts to get nervous and pout-cries. As long as he can hear one of us though, he does fine. It makes us think that maybe he is naturally a little bit shy. Whenever we are in a new place that isn't the house he gets my shirt or fingers in a vice-grip and just clings as he looks around with wide eyes. He usually relaxes once we are there for a little while, though. I can only think of one time that he has smiled while we were not in the house/on a walk i.e. one time he has smiled in public. 

April-May was the month of figuring out nap time! At first he was only taking like 20-30 minute naps at a time. He wanted to be held a lot for naps as well (which I didnt mind, honestly.) But, I did need to do homework and so this month we have been trying to figure out a better nap schedule. It was not an overnight process, for sure. But, we found a pretty good groove starting last week. He sleeps great and for decently long stretches if he is on our bed. We lay him on our bed in his, what we call, peanut swaddle (https://lovetodream.com), and Kyle or I lay next to him for a minute until he falls asleep--which is generally pretty quickly. Finding a pacifier that stayed in his mouth was KEY to nap time success. I found a pacifier that came in a box of bottles we had and it fits the shape of his mouth better. I am worried about how moving to Seattle will change the great schedule that we JUST BARELY established *nervous face*



When he was first born, the nurses showed me how to break his latch while he was nursing and told me that once it seemed like he had finished eating and was just pacifying, I should break the latch. Then he started to spit up like a mad man because I was overproducing and forceful let down was ruining his life. These two things combined meant that I always cut him off. He never learned how to un-latch on his own. Around month two I decided to just let him eat until he wanted to be done, since his tummy issues had calmed down  (he still spits up a ton, but not like before) and my milk had regulated, but he had no idea how to unlatch. It has been a funny learning curve to observe. First he would throw his head back, but not let go (ouch...) over and over again until I would break the latch. Then he started to learn how to un-latch, but it was a dramatic affair. He was throw his head back as he let go and gasp in a big breath of air. Drama king. Now he has figured out that he can unlatch and then latch back on while he is eating and will spent like two minutes unlatching and then latching and then unlatching and then latching. He will look me right in the eye the whole time like "Do you see what I can do!?" It is fun to watch him learn, even small things! But, his new found skill also means he will refuse to eat sometimes ("I can let go now, so I WILL!")




Mornings are the best time of day. After a long full night's sleep and after he has nursed and has a full belly, Ezra is the HAPPIEST little guy. We spend about an hour in bed just chatting, smiling, and cuddling together. I have said to Kyle a few times: "Do you think he will do this with me for the rest of his life?" Kyle doesn't think he will be too keen on it when he is 40, or 14 for that matter, but I beg to differ! He is always going to want me to kiss him all over his face, right? RIGHT!? *Pleading voice*

This month Ezra was blessed. It was such a happy day for us. He met Grandpa Jeff for the first time and *really* met Grandpa Brown for the first time too (because he slept through their meeting last time!) Kyle's blessing for Ezra was beautiful and it was special to have both of our dads here to participate. My dad, and later another member of the branch, commented that Ezra just looked right at Kyle during the blessing--taking it all in. What a sweet little spirit we have.

Kyle's basketball team also attended, as well as a family friend of my parent's (originally) who lives in Utica, and another friend of ours here in Ithaca. I just felt so...FILLED...during the whole day! Filled with all the good feelings there are to be filled with. Mostly, gratitude.





Kyle and Alivia:


-Kyle finished up his Junior year!
-We are moving to Seattle in a couple days where Kyle has an internship with Amazon!
-We are living with my padre
-I started classes again in April. Two classes. I'm thinking i'lll do two a semester from here until I graduate. It feels like a manageable load--busy for sure, but not overwhelming.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sunday Will Come

Please watch the entire 3 minutes

My mom passed away on December 3, 2015. On December 3, 2015, Easter became my favorite holiday. In honor of Good Friday today, I wanted to share the message that has brought me peace and more importantly, brought me HOPE. When my mother passed, I felt like all goodness had suddenly been sucked from the world and my life. It left me quite empty and my soul more than broken. It was and is my Friday. 

As devastating as my Friday was/is, because of the Savior, because of that great and terrible Friday millennia ago, and because of that glorious Sunday, that first Easter morn, the grave that burst, I trust that I too will have MY Sunday. Is there a more perfect time than Easter, to remember? 


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dos Meses Con Ezrito!

We have discovered that Ezra quite enjoys a bath as long as he stays warm. This means he wants most of his body submerged underwater and you better make sure that water is on the hotter side of warm than the cooler side. In order to keep him submerged, one of us has to be in the bath with him to hold his head out of the water, but the rest of him underneath. Once he gets a little bigger and we get more confident, I'm sure getting in with him will no longer be necessary. But for now, it works.

Ezra started smiling at us this month (right around 6 weeks). The first time he smiled AT me I promptly began to cry because it made me so happy. He has gotten more and more smiley as the days have progressed this month. It is so fun!! He smiles biggest right now at any type of breeze on his face, a tickled chin, when he sneezes, and most recently, at the clicking tongue noise.

He chats and coos during the day. His voice is so adorable. He has even given a little teaser giggle a time or two. He has also become more active with kicking his legs around and pumping his arms back and forth. 




Our nightly routine starts around 9 pm. I feed him on one side. Then we bathe him, dry him, lotion him, diaper, and clothe him. Kyle swaddles him while I turn the lights off in the house, except for the living room light, which we dim down to a faint glow. Then I feed him on the other side, burp and rock him to sleep. He eats twice during the night (2, 6 about) and sleeps well between the feedings. Sometimes after his 6 am feeding, Ezra wants to be awake for a little while. Kyle gets up with him and takes him into the living room (so I can sleep) to hold him until he is ready to go back to sleep. He stays with him, sometimes getting to catch some more z's himself, until he leaves for class at 9 am.

In addition to learning to smile, this month Ezra learned how to cry. He is now freely voicing his opinion when he is tired/hungry. He still cries sparingly. When he does cry, we usually let him go for a few minutes because he has the CUTEST POUTY FACE we've ever seen. I mean, wow--it's adorable. In addition to his pouty face, one of his cries is just this little gaspy-type cry and it is so sweet (and sad.) It just sounds like he is gasping in over and over again trying not to cry, like little kids do when they are trying to be brave, but are actually weeping. Ya know what I'm talking about? It is so sweet.

March-April brought with it Ezra's eyelashes. He didn't have any when he was born, but he does now :)

Ezra met the team this month! I dropped him off at the gym with Kyle during the afternoon while I went to lunch with some friends. Ezra spent time in the locker room for the first time (and I'm sure there will be many times to come.) When I came to pick him up, Kyle wanted to bring him to the weight room to show him off to the trainers. It was amazing to me to watch these big strong guys (and girls), all college athletes, coming to catch a glimpse of and fawn over my little baby. As my dad put it, most people seem to have an affinity for new life--no matter who they are. Kyle then wanted to bring him to see the coaches. In response to a playful grin I gave him he said "What? I want to show him to everyone! He is the greatest thing I've ever done!" <3





We discovered that dairy upsets his stomach and so I have cut that out of my diet, for the most part. I will still eat cheese on a hamburger, or whatever, but I've stopped drinking and eating dairy-based foods. Every once in a while we noticed that he would just have a harder day or night. They weren't catastrophic or anything, he just didn't have his normal demeanor during the day and woke up more frequently during the night. We finally linked the cause to meals i'd had that were dairy-heavy--like a milkshake for dessert. Soy milk it is!

This month we started venturing out with him more. He does great in his carseat and almost always falls asleep within about 10 minutes of being in the car. Every time Kyle or I hold him as we walk outside he looks around like he is discovering a new world. So much brain development, so little time! We discovered that if you want to feel like you have the most beautiful, wonderful baby in the world (as if I didn't already...) you should take them to the waiting room of a small temple. Every temple worker and patron, male and female, will oo and aahhh over that baby like there is no tomorrow. How often do people bring babies into the waiting room at Palmyra? I'm guessing not very often. We felt like movie stars. 




Overall, Ezra is just a LIGHT. He is so easy to be entreated. That is the phrase that I feel like best defines his little personality thus far. I love his spirit. I am convinced that no person in the world could spend a day with him and leave feeling like their life hadn't been enriched. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

One Month Update

EZRA:

10 lbs, 21 inches

-Eats every three hours like clock work and has gained nearly 3 pounds since birth
-Great eater--sometimes too good.
-He ends up spitting up good portions of his feedings on occasion, because he eats too much. At least, that's what we think it is right now. Poor baby. It makes us feel so sad when his spitting up turns to full on puking with milk coming out of his nose. He gets the saddest/most confused little face after he has puked that breaks my mama heart!
-Sleeps well in his bassinet
-Takes and likes a binky! He has a lamb wub-a-nub that we have used exclusively thus far
-He sleeps well during the night, most of the time. If we are lucky, we get a 4 hour stretch (usually from about 10/11-2/3). Then he eats and I burp/rock him back to sleep. I usually lay him down around 4 and he sleeps again until 6/7. Then he will eat and go back to sleep again until around 9. This is an ideal night. Many nights do NOT go like this. The nights that he has an upset stomach and is trying to sleep, but can't sleep soundly because he keeps spitting up or has gas stuck in his belly he can't seem to get out are harder.
-Makes crazy grunting noises in his sleep 
-Does NOT like baths. Does not like being cold. 
-Does not really cry unless he is being bathed. We feel really grateful during the night that even when he is fussy (wriggly and making little grunting noises), he isn't crying. He is starting to find his voice and state his opinion more, though. 
-Is very tolerant of everything. You can poke, pick, move, and wiggle him and he doesn't care in the least
-Except his ears, he doesn't love having his ears played with
-Likes to be swaddled, but also likes to sleep with his hands by/covering his face. We usually swaddle him at night, but keep his arms free during the day for naps.
-Is getting better at making eye contact/following us with his eyes
-Started bearing weight on his legs at about 2 weeks old.
-Holds his head up very well
-Makes some great faces. His waking up face is my personal favorite.  
-Loud noises do not bother him, except for the sound of dishes clinking together. He doesn't like utensils hitting plates/bowls or dishes clanking together in the sink. 



(A few hours old doing the Pirate Eye)
MOM:

-Healing well! I was surprised at the seeming quickness of recovery. My stitches still cause me pain, but overall things are pretty good. 
-I was an emotional basket case for the first week, but the roller-coaster emotions have since settled
-I love to hold, squish, kiss, and cuddle my baby
-His sweet face and coos make middle of the night feedings still joyful
-Survived food poisoning while caring for a 3 week old

I've been thinking a lot about body image. Having a baby had an effect on my self-view that I wasn't expecting. I've always felt self conscious and chubby. This and that weren't right blah blah blah--typical teen and young adult body insecurities. 

Pregnancy enhanced these feelings as I gained weight--heaven forbid I gain weight. (*rolling eyes*) I gained a lot of weight. I was so concerned with the body changes--the swelling, the stretch marks, the hip expansion. I knew my body would never be the same and that made my pregnant self feel very sad, worried, and insecure. 

Then I gave birth and you know what? I discovered a love for my body that I had never known before! I had heard a lot of moms talk about how powerful their bodies were because they had given life to another person. I thought it was a great sentiment, but didn't think I would feel that way. BUT I DO. When I look at my body it is not close to what my old "ideal" was. But, I love my stretch marks. I have a lot of them and I LIKE them. They make me feel like I did something remarkable. I'm proud of my body's ability to heal and shrink back down at all--that's amazing! How does that happen!? I like my soft tummy skin rolls. They make me feel cuddly for my baby. I'm amazed that my body did something so miraculous. How could I be upset with it after all it has been through? Instead I feel proud and for the first time in my life, not at all ashamed of it. 


DAD:

-Ezra enjoys peeing only on Kyle. It is hilarious and wonderful.
-Kyle has become a burping, diaper and outfit changing champion
-Speaking of champions. Kyle wins all the awards for "Best Swaddler." It is a talent. Nothing helps Ezra sleep (and stay asleep) like a good swaddle from Dad.



(Kyle comforting Ezra as we are about to head home from the hospital)

-School, basketball, his calling and fatherhood has been nothing short of a professional balancing act. He always shows Ezra and I we are priority #1, which makes this girl's heart burst with gratitude and love. Kyle is the G-R-E-A-T-E-S-T. I couldn't say it enough.
-Will get up to rock the baby at any hour of the night or morning
-Survived food poisoning while caring for a 3 week old 




Overall, we feel so grateful that Ezra is ours. We are so grateful for his health and content, happy demeanor. We love love love our little Ez. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What's In A Name?

Names are important to me. Whenever someone has a baby, that's what I wait for--the name! When I was a child, every week I would sit in church and just write the full names of everyone in my family I could remember. There is something about a name that is just meaningful to me. Kyle agreed--names were important. 

In the scriptures, Helaman told his sons: "Behold, I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good. Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them." (Helaman 5:6-7)

We wanted our sweet baby to have a name that was meaningful. A name that connected him to something greater than himself. We wanted him to be able to remember those who went before him and "remember their works....that they were good..that [he]should do that which is good." 

DIME: My father's name. Hope you don't mind that being on the internet, Dad. Dime originated from a book my grandpa wrote, and my grandma just liked the name--so they used it. The main character of my grandpa's novel was named Dime Silvers. (There is a story behind WHY my grandpa wanted to use Dime that I would gladly tell you if you ask me.) When my brother was born, they named him, the first born son (and only born son) Dime Zackary. When my sisters began having children, much to my father's chagrin, the tradition continued--first born sons were named Dime. All go by their middle name, including my father Jeff and my brother Zack. 

I love my father. He is truly one of the greats. He is stalwart. He is the definition of what it means to be a true man. I want Ezra to know his name ties him to someone he can look to. The name also ties him to a family tradition that is special to me. I hope it is special to him. 

EZRA: Ezra is originally a biblical name and a name I happened to love. When I first presented Ezra as an idea Kyle said: "Areeee you giving birth to a 100-year-old man?" haha. But, the more we talked about it, the more we both grew to love it. The more it seemed to fit our babe. When he was born and as we have gotten to know him over the past couple weeks, it fits him even better.

The idea for Ezra comes from Ezra Taft Benson--the president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1985-1994. Ezra Taft Benson, if you are allowed to have favorite prophets, is one of my favorites. His most memorable teachings include the importance of the Book of Mormon, upholding the Constitution, and his landmark address "Beware of Pride" (still probably one of the most oft used talks ever given). Kyle and I both love the Book the Mormon and recognize the significant role it has played in our life. I've never known a person who loved the Book of Mormon the way Kyle does! President Benson is the 'Book of Mormon prophet'! His legacy in connection with who WE are as parents just fit. If we wanted a name to connect our Ezra to role models, by our estimation, President Benson was a pretty great one. 

Little Ezra came out with the wrinkliest hands and feet I have ever seen. In combination with his calm and rather pensive nature, he is fulfilling his old-man-name role quite nicely.

[Additionally, Ezra is our Cornell baby. Coincidentally, Cornell is named after Ezra Cornell. It is not why we named him Ezra, but a funny happenstance nonetheless.]

It is our hope that Ezra is able to find significance and depth from his name. We hope it gives him some extra deep roots. I am biased as his mother, but I also have no doubt that he is going to do great things. "I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them." --and beyond, Ez!